The Shaw Invasion

This is what Friendship looks like.
This is what Friendship looks like.

Shaw is a careless dot in the middle of the San Juan Islands. On a map, it kind of looks like a cowboy boot with a broken spur. In my heart, it looks like my friends laughing behind an old cabin, drunk off of Jam Jar wine.

In November 2010, on a day full of strange fiction coming to life, we gathered gold maple leaves the size of a giant’s hand into bouquets. We ordained Emily a minister and pretended to marry each other with Eskimo kisses on the mossy ground behind the cabin. (The boys hit golf balls around in the front, oblivious to our silliness.) Afterwards, the brides jumped into a rusted, orange hollowed-out Charger with a cardboard “just married” sign in tow.

The ceremony concluded with this photograph and a reception of spiked hot chocolate and more Jam Jar wine, enjoyed around a snapping fire.

The mainland is full of responsibility – jobs, bills, irksome social media we can’t seem to live without. But on Shaw, nothing exists but the moment and the limits of our imaginations and friendships.

Weekly Writing Challenge: Truth is Stranger than Fiction; Post II

Chuck’s Favorite Things

Chuck’s Golf  Bag

How long does it take 9 people to move Chuck and Karen into their first home together?  About 9 hours.  And forget about sticking to a diet.  You eat what is convenient, which is burgers and pizza.  This is okay, because minus drive time it was the equivalent of 7 hours in the gym. 

Being the odd chick I am, I enjoyed helping them move.  Not only did I get the exercise, I helped alleviate just a little bit of stress from two very dear friends AND got a bright red boombox, an ironing board, and a plastic storage case out of it!  Score!

Chuck’s Guitars

It took two trips to Mount Vernon, the majority of the day, and a full U-Haul to move Karen.  Chuck, my next door neighbor, was a little easier.   We formed a line from the front door to the U-Haul and just passed boxes from person to person.  We were done in less than an hour.   There were a few prized possessions held back from the U-Haul, carefully placed in the back of Chuck’s truck instead…his collection of bass guitars and his golf clubs. 

So, now 12 hours later everyone is exhausted, and I’m at home again listening to old Metallica on cassette tape on the bright red boombox thinking about sleep.  I’m also wondering how many mixed tapes Karen made on this dinosaur back in the day? 

Be Happy

I was socializing and shopping tonight, so I didn’t take any photos.   I’d say that’s okay once a week.  🙂

The sun has been a scarce thing in the Pacific Northwest recently.  Big surprise there – it’s December.  So, when I was going through some photos tonight, I found this – actually from just a couple of weeks ago.  It made me happy to see what the world looks like illuminated by sunshine.  It reminded me that no matter how much rain falls, how windy it gets, and how long the grey skies last, Spring will eventually return. 

There is one story I’d like to share from today, though.  There isn’t a picture to go with it.   As I was driving to work this morning, I realized I’d left my ID badge, driver’s license, and debit card at home (since they’re all together).  I was too close to work to turn around, but I was nearly out of gas as well and knew I’d need to refill to make it home .

Two cool things happened.  First, I found a $25 gift card to Fred Meyer at work.  Not only does Fred Meyer have food, it has a gas station.   But, even if I hadn’t found the gift card, my good friend David basically offered me $50 to get through the day.    I really do have to say, I have great friends.  I’m sure that no matter what happens in my life, I’ll always land on my feet because I’m surrounded by the best people on the planet.  🙂

I’d also like to throw in a Happy Birthday to my stylish, fun, and pretty much all around awesome friend, KIM who is turning 40!  

Have a happy Friday everyone!

Favorite Search Terms

I was reading Lisa’s blog this morning, and she mentioned the random search terms people used that ultimately connected them to her WordPress blog.   This got me looking at my own site stats, and I found some interesting things!  Now, I have absolutely no idea who actually is doing the searching.  All WordPress tells me is that someone, somewhere typed one of these terms into Google or another search engine, and that lead to Jolene’s Life in Focus.  

These are some of my favorite search terms from the past month.

learn to love guinness
love yourself
jolene artist alfalfa
дикие животные  (What does this mean??)
the revenj of the missipp squarl  (interesting way to spell it…)
statistics on cat scratch fever
blowing in the wind
pub photography
deciduous leaf litter
pictures of things in focus
cat paws
snow caps candy
“neptune theater” and “haunted” or “ghost”
hard life in Africa
busted laptop
how to take a self portrait with a cell phone
ireland door art
tromme Tanzania
wild animals
wild things on facebook

Also, Since August, I was searched for by name 82 times.   Not bad!

Sorry, I have no photo of the day for Thursday.   Instead of playing with the Canon, I helped my friend Ian decorate his Christmas Tree tonight.   It was nice to play the role of friend instead of photographer, so the camera stayed at home.

In My Life

Kasteel; Oak Harbor, Washington

My friend Andy invited me to spend Thanksgiving with him and his family in Oak Harbor.   It was great to be able to spend the holiday with a family, since mine is 1800 miles away.

On the drive back to Bellingham, I was going over ideas for today’s blog when this Beatles song started playing on the radio.   It reminded me of all the places I’ve been, people I miss, and memories of holidays past.    None of those things will ever lose their meaning to me, but what’s right in front of me and what is to come I need to love more.   The way we celebrate and who we celebrate with evolves over time.  Sometimes the rooms overflow with people and other times we sit quietly alone.  

So today, I am humbly thankful for what is right in front of me.   I am grateful for my friends, my family, and the abundant blessings in my life.  I want for nothing, and I love this life more each day.

There are places I remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places had their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I’ve loved them all

But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more

Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more
In my life I love you more

Jam Jar

The Jam Jar wine gets cleaned out of Shaw’s only store when the “Lush You Crew” sets foot on the Island.   After our trip a week ago Saturday, I imagine there’s another case en route to stock up for our next trip.   Adrienne suggested I forward this shot over to the makers of Jam Jar to show them where and how people enjoy their wine. 

Continuing on in my gratitude journey, I am thankful for my “lushes” (which is more of a term of endearment within our friend group than a reference to any drinking habits).   I haven’t had a group of friends like this in my life.  There is a lot of support within the group and never any back-biting.  Plus, these ladies just know how to have fun! 

A BIG Congratulations to Adrienne, who is now a proud first-time Auntie!!


Thankful, Day 2:  Rick.  A.k.a. Slow, Rickshaw, Rickles. 

Rick, I am thankful for your persistent Monday night calls three years ago trying to convince me to eat one of your spaghetti dinners.  I enjoyed your signature moves on stage at the Upfront Theater while the performances lasted. 

For some reason, my angst with life was displaced, and I was unreasonably angry with you at the beginning of the year.   I see clearly now, that you have a good heart.  I know you can come over and enjoy a good bottle of Chianti, and I can spill my secrets to you.   You are like a brother to me – when I miss my three brothers back home so much.  I have a hard time opening up to anyone, and it took me a while to appreciate who you are and where you came from.  But, Rick, you are one of the things that makes Bellingham GOOD.   I never have to put on a facade or pretend to be anything other than what I am. 

Rick, you are one in a million.  Thank you for being exactly, precisely 100% who you are at all times.